Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Playing Favourites

... a cracking post at the Too Much Lead blog [click here] inspired me to take up his challenge to document my own favourites..

In summary, we all have favourite games, periods, inspirations and so on, the challenge then is to document what they are so that we can all see what drives each of us...

Wargames Period
Where it all began for Steve the Wargamer

Way back in the day I played Napoleonics (good old Airfix!) as it was about the time they were bringing out all those gorgeous boxes of new figures - British Hussars, Royal Horse Artillery, they were works of art. I also played WWII - 20mm, Airfix, Western Desert, with rules taken from "War Games" and modified to include those vehicles and AFV's that didn't feature..

Since then I must have played almost every period except the Russo-Japanese War (there's still time...), but if I'm forced to make a decision then my favourite period would be either the American Civil War, the War of Independence,the War of the Spanish Succession, WWII or Sudan Colonial....  and yes I know that's five - spooky that they should also turn out to be the same as my current projects though..

If I was forced to make one choice then, probably Marlburian - it has everything.... 


So difficult as to my mind certain scales fit certain periods...  easier to say what I don't like (1/300 or 6mm, as it happens - gah.....  why don't you just use cardboard counters and be done with it.. )

I have this twisted view that the lower the organisational level of the game then the bigger the figures should be... for brigade level games then 20mm or bigger is perfect - but Newline are my benchmark - if I was starting the AWI project again, then 20mm would be my scale of choice (if the range was available)...  the bigger the battle, then the smaller I go...  so 15mm is ideal for Marlborough ie. multi-brigade games just seem to need a smaller scale...  WWII however is made for 10mm - it's a range & space thing that can't be met by 6mm (see previous comment!)

If I was forced to make one choice then probably 15mm - it is so ubiquitous...


This one's easy... Will McNally's American War of Independence and Seven Years War Rules...  these two sets of rules have given me more fun games over the years than any other set I've used apart from perhaps the Don Featherstone WWII rules from War Games

An honourable mention goes to DBA... DG and I must have played it every other work day lunchtime for years at one time...


Chess - I love it and play every day on one of those correspondence chess web sites...  absolutely rubbish at it but I still love it...  I occasionally win, but as I never read those hideous strategy/famous chess openings books, the win is always a pleasant surprise! 

Other than that I would put my vote on Scrabble which I like to play with the family (but we don't score so we never have a winner or a loser...)

Despite having a fascination with wargame based board games (I love the maps/boards) I've never found them to be a satisfactory alternative to seeing little metal men on a wargame table...

Figure manufacturer

Some of Front Rank's finest..
No plastics feature - sorry, been there, done that, moved on.. 

So in the metal ranges...
  • 15mm Dixon Marlburian Cavalry
  • 20mm Newline American Civil War
  • 15mm Minifigs Marlburian Infantry
  • Front Rank American War of Independence range


"I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members". Groucho Marx

....'nuff said...  I tend towards solitary endeavours - except when DG is down....!


Easy...  DG - but to be fair he's my only opponent unless you also put a vote in for.... errrrr...  me.... 


"Last of the Mohicans"

"Waterloo" was  the defining wargame related film for me - as an 11 year old I remember going to the cinema three times to see that film in the same week (DG has a cracking print of the aerial shot of the French cavalry attacking the squares on his wargames room wall)

Other than that I would put "Last of the Mohicans" for it's fine flavour of what it must have been like to have fought with black powder musket and tomahawk in the French and Indian Wars - Daniel Day-Lewis, and Wes Studi as Magua, are superb...


"War Games" started it all for me - and that's a hobby that's lasted almost 40 years now so I guess that can be classed as inspiring...! From "War Games" I moved on to "Battles with Model Soldiers", "Advanced Wargames", and all Don's other titles but the book I subsequantly pored over more than any of the others was "Solo Wargames" - there's not a duff page in it...

On the fiction front it's easy - Aubrey & Maturin, and Matthew Hervey have no competition - all other military fiction is mere fluff....

A very honourable mention however, goes to Ronald Welch - when I was a spud his series of books about the Carey family were read again and again (and again).....


William Stobbs illustration..
Three artists seem to convey my view of military activity better than all the others....  in no order
  • Bob Marrion does fantastic depictions of the common soldier in uniform - I particulalry liked his work in the Marborough books Charles Grant did for Partizan
  • Don Troiani - just superb pictures of the American Wars and fighting men - makes you want to reach for a paint brush whenever you see them...
  • William Stobbs - a little known illustrator but he provided the pictures in some of the earliest Ronald Welch books...

The Interweb

If I ignore GoogleReader (which is where I keep track of an implausibly large number of blogs) then my favourite web sites are Red Hot Pawn (that's a chess site!) and Blue Max (for playing Blue Max and Wooden Ships & Iron Men) oh, and I couldn't live wothout Google.....

  • favourite table size: 8x6 feet (an despite mine being 6 x 4 I haven't changed my mind..)
  • favourite tank: Panzer IV with Grant as a close second
  • favourite colour to paint uniforms: deep blue, perfect colour for inks..
  • ..can't think of anything else....
As Aki said in his post if you like the idea, now poach it for your own blog, it'll be interesting to see what other peoples preference are too...


  1. Great blog topic idea. I'll now have to give it some thought and come up with my own! By the way, do try Russo-Japanese sometime if the opportunity presents itself. I've only done it once, at a con several years ago, but it still rates as one of the more enjoyable games I've taken part in at this particular con over the years. I wish I could remember the rules used, but it was a small unit infantry skirmish rather than the common naval.

  2. That's a good idea and some great answers...

  3. I just might try that out and a good set of answers.
    Really like both your film choices, some of your period pics and indeed Mr. Troiani is superb!


  4. Cheers guys... come on then - lets have a post on your favourites....!

    Re. Russo-Japanese War - I think it was seeing the recent post by Ray (co-conspirator with the Angry Lurker) who put the idea in my head..


  5. I to have a battered copy of Featherstones book - have often wondered which route my life would have taken if I had not come across this book in the school library .

  6. We wargamers are a diverse bunch. I would find not having a club very difficult!

    My favourites should appear later in the week

  7. An excellent post and some great answers. I've gotta agree with you on the two choices for inspiring film, In Waterloo, the scene when Ney's cavalry charge over the hill and onto the British squares, gives me goose bumps as does the silent piece of film in LotM, when DD Lewis runs to help the kidnapped women and then kills Magua!! Two brilliant pieces of film.
    Glad I've re-ignited your interest in the Russo-Japanese War, there's more of them to come!!!

  8. Great post Steve. Food for thought.

  9. Excellent post Steve. I agree with just about everything. This could so easly be about me!!

  10. I just shown Postie who owns the Russ-Jap figures, your post, he said, "Don't listen to the voices!!!"

  11. Great idea, couldn't ignore the prompt after TWO of you had done it :D